Dr. Maria D. Dueñas
Assistant Professor of Sociology
University of Illinois Springfield

I am an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Illinois at Springfield. I graduated from the University of California, Merced with a Doctorate in Philosophy (PhD) in Sociology in May 2023. I graduated from the University of South Florida in 2015 with a Masters of Arts in Sociology. In 2010, I graduated from New College of Florida, the public honors college of Florida, with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology.

My research focuses on race and ethnicity, immigration, family, and Latinx Sociology. I study racialization, racial and ethnic discourses, and racial and ethnic identity formation for Latinxs. My research examines how Latinx families in Florida and California talk about racial and cultural identity and racism and how these conversations about and experiences with racial and ethnic inclusion and exclusion are gendered and vary by class. For this project, I conducted in-depth, semi-structured interviews with U.S. born Latinx children of immigrants.

I have published in the American Behavioral Scientist, Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, TRAILS: Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology, the Student Sociologist, and others. I was the First Place Winner of Alpha Kappa Delta's 2020 Graduate Student Paper Competition and won the University of California, Merced Sociology Department's 2020 Graduate Student Research Award. I also received the 2021 Honorable Mention for the Society for the Study of Social Problems' Racial and Ethnic Minorities Division’s Student Paper Competition.

I am a National Science Foundation AGEP California HSI Alliance Fellow. I was a Doctoral Dissertation Fellow at the University of Illinois at Springfield from 2022-23. I won the 2019-2020 and Spring 2022 UC Merced Graduate Dean's Dissertation Fellowship and several other fellowships. In 2021, I won the UC Merced Sociology Department Graduate Student Teaching Award.

I served on the Board of Directors for the Society for the Study of Social Problems from 2017-2019. I was a Student Advisory Editor for the journal Social Problems from 2018-2019. I was also a Student Representative for the American Sociological Association's Race, Gender, and Class section (2017-2019) and the Latina/o Sociology section (2017-2018). From 2014-2016, I served as a Graduate Student Representative and Treasurer and Secretary for ASA's Student Forum Advisory Board.

Portrait by Veronica Adrover